“Sometimes these folks just come in under the radar. A courthouse burns down in Oklahoma, and the next thing you know, you’ve got a guy with a couple of felonies teaching introduction to criminal justice.”

“Whole department was that way for awhile, in fact. We can’t afford the kind of background checks it would take to weed out the bad apples.
But with humanities it’s even harder. We’ve got guys from reputable institutions with glowing cover letters from the big names in academia, mostly because they’re trying to put a thousand miles between this guy and their daughters…or pets. At least with those you know the guy could probably read or write at some point, or knew someone who could. Lends us some prestige here. People are always saying we only get the freshmen from the Coastal Carolina University Predators football team to bring ‘em up to speed on shape, color and pattern recognition, but we had a visiting lecturer here a while back… That Goetz boy… one that shot up a bus? The students were rapt. They knew they damn well better pay attention. Boy had the craziest goddamn eyes I’ve ever seen.”

A mere five years ago the campus of William T. “Potha” Epps Community College was a dense tangle of heaps of rusted automobiles, cow-itch vines and a patch of empty yellow ground the state only recently decommissioned as a PCB landfill. In the first years of its operation, students often faced challenges uncommon to the college experience. President Chesely Wilkes remembers the early days:
“There was some rats out there in the salvage yard big as damn dogs. It won’t nothing for a student trying to get from the I-41 access parking lot to building E to get ambushed by a dozen of them and lose a couple of fingers. We had a boy in the Chemistry/ OTC Pharmacy Program nearly lost a foot. Our Civil War reenactors team got pinned down by a hundred or so of them out by the landfill during fall break a couple years ago and went without food or potable water until maintenance showed up to open the school for the next quarter. A few folks say there was cannibalism. Personally, I think they’re just trying to stir up a bunch of shit.”

“Our students tended to be a little warier and faster on their feet than students from the surrounding institutions. They had a hunted, hungry look. Especially the ones who had to run in from the Shep Aldritch Memorial Parkway side. That is, until we got the sealed walkway donated from Potha Epps Concrete Creations. And the scrap metal shortage pretty much cleaned out all the old cars.”
Professor Burl Epps (TIG welding/English Romantic poetry) says the campus itself has developed a unique physical and moral landscape that softens the hard edges of a heavy industry prep funnel and apparently looks better, too, though he can hardly see it anymore:
“I tell all the kids it’s right there in Wordsworth:
There was a time when meadow,
grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and freshness of a dream,
It is not now as it hath been of yore;-
Turn whereso’er I may.
By night or day,
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.”

The point being, wear them damn number three shades at least, or you’ll be making your way to the shop with a white cane.”

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